Office 2013: How Much Should I Pay?

Jack in Duluth, Georgia writes:

I will soon be purchasing a copy of Office 2013 (including MS Access) for a PC I am building.  I’ve seen ads for $25 (keycard), for $120 (box), and at the MS site for $399.99.  I obviously don’t understand what they are talking about because there seems to be a big difference between $25 and $400 for the same piece of software.  How do I make sure I am getting the software I want but at a competitive price?

A key card means you are purchasing the 25 digit code to activate either a version of Office installed on a computer or that you download. That $25 price may be an offer made in conjunction with purchasing a new computer that would allow you to unlock the program for $25. Otherwise that sounds incredibly low and pretty suspicious. That $399 price point for Office Professional 2013 with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access is the suggested retail price for a licensed version the products you want. Usually you won’t see too much wiggle room on this price, though some good discounts are available fro time to time.  Just make sure you’re buying from a legitimate vendor. You don’t want to end up with a product that won’t activate.

The $399 price is for a 1 PC/ 1 user license.

Another option for your new PC is a subscription to Microsoft Office 365. This includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Access and Publisher. It costs $9.99 per month or $99 a year.  But you use the service on up to five devices in your household.

The disadvantage is that you have to keep paying the subscription, the advantage is that you’ll always have the latest version of the service and the convenience of multiple devices. An Office 365 subscription will work with PCs, Macs and even on your Android device.

I have the Office 365 subscription on multiple devices and I have been quite satisfied with it.

~ Cynthia

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